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to think that £500 a month is enough for a child at uni

554 replies

FunnysInLaJardin · 04/02/2024 20:39

we will pay his accommodation and his tuition fees will be paid, so this will just be for food and travel etc

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fleurneige · 11/02/2024 21:21

wombat15 · 11/02/2024 20:27

Some posters are saying 20 pounds a week for food would be fine.

I happen to also think it is. But here, as per OP, we are talking about £125 per week, without lodgings or fees. How the student chooses to apportion it is up to her/him. But certainly could choose to spend more than one sixth on food.

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FunnysInLaJardin · 11/02/2024 23:00

DocOck · 11/02/2024 16:22

The dramatics on this thread 😅

When most of my generation were students they were scraping the mould off cheese and living off beans, and yet, they've not all got scurvy and rickets.

and you want that for your kids?

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FunnysInLaJardin · 11/02/2024 23:02

fleurneige · 11/02/2024 17:12

Honestly? Not if you have take-aways and McDonald's etc- but it is perfectly possible to eat for £20 a week with a bit of clever buying and cooking, and using mince, eggs, beans and other pulses, and veg. But we are talking here about 125 per week, without no accommodation or fees cost. If anyone can't live on that, they shouldn't be at Uni!

Undernourished, wow!

in the 80's my mum who was a home economics teacher reckoned on £15 per person per week.

It has to cost more than £20 a week to feed a young adult adequately, has to

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FunnysInLaJardin · 11/02/2024 23:06

456pickupsticks · 11/02/2024 17:48

Max student loan is for people to pay for accommodation from too though! £500 per month on top of paying for accommodation, so all as spending money, is a hell of a lot, lots of people working full time don't have that after paying for housing and bills.

I went to uni 10 years ago, and didn't know anyone who got £500 a month from parents. I worked part time whilst doing a pretty full on course, and probably lived on about £500 most months, including to pay for my accommodation and bills!
A few had parents pay for accommodation and they had their student loan (usually not much beyond the minimum of £3.6k a year, so £1.2k a term, £300-400 a month), to live on.
Otherwise people got nothing and got part time jobs (some thought our uni, some working ad-hoc in our SU or in student support and student services, and some in the local town), or got £200 a month or less (which is still about £50 a week - which was pretty adequate for food, a cheap night out and some extra curriculars).

If you've got £500 a month spare, then by all means send it to him, but I'd suggest;
a) He needs to find much cheaper accommodation (you're on to spend about £100,000 over 4 years if you're paying £17k for accommodation and giving £500 a month. If you've got another child to do this for too, that's the neck end of £200,000 for both of them!) I'd say you need to be fair amongst you two kids too, so if you allow £17k accommodation for the first, you'll need to allow a similar for the second!
This is more than most people spend on a mortgage, and you can definitely get decent and even nice accommodation for much cheaper - even just by dropping down to an en-suite room in a similar block. He'll also find that the people who live in the most expensive accommodation have a much higher level of disposable income, and that's where he's actually most likely to be priced out of things, whereas living in mid-range accommodation will mean he's more likely to be living with people in similar financial situations, who'll be doing things within his budget and be on similar footing. There's also more likelihood that he'll be living with foreign students who don't like a typical student lifestyle if he's in a new purpose built block, in a studio, which may be less social that you're all imagining.

b) You'd be better off doing a big food shop for him, giving him some starting money (for books, society membership, annual travel pass, and to put aside to pay for trips), and then giving him a lower amount monthly and putting the rest of the money aside as savings for when he leaves uni (I'd say £300 a month would be adequate if you're paying for accommodation separately, leaving £200 a month to put into other savings). - You can then evaluate his budget with him over the Xmas break, and he can explain why he thinks he needs more money if he feels that way, and then you can make a decision on whether to increase his budget.

so glad you know more than I do about our specific circs. Thanks for your input

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owlsinthedaylight · 11/02/2024 23:13

FunnysInLaJardin · 11/02/2024 23:02

in the 80's my mum who was a home economics teacher reckoned on £15 per person per week.

It has to cost more than £20 a week to feed a young adult adequately, has to

£20-£30 per week

7 main meals for £10

Now we are fortunate enough to be planning to give DS many multiples of that, but I’m also making sure he knows how to budget, how to plan meals, how to shop for food and how to cook it.

Cooking healthy meals on a student budget | University of Northampton

Many students worry about the cost of accommodation, travel, etc. In this blog, student Mckenny will help you see how food doesn't need to be one of these.

https://www.northampton.ac.uk/blog/cooking-healthy-meals-on-a-student-budget/

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456pickupsticks · 11/02/2024 23:16

FunnysInLaJardin · 11/02/2024 23:06

so glad you know more than I do about our specific circs. Thanks for your input

you're asking for opinions from people on this forum, I've just laid out a suggestion of a reasonable alternative for you to consider!

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BungleandGeorge · 11/02/2024 23:30

Those recipes are laughable really in terms of nutrition. The average 18 year old male needs over 3000 calories a day! Some of the dishes appear to have next to no protein and the chicken dishes have 330g of chicken thighs (which obviously have a bone in and skin on). It would be interesting to see their coatings and nutritional values!

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wombat15 · 11/02/2024 23:57

I always think that the cheap meal plans involve not enough food. They might be suitable for middle aged women but I needed a lot more than that when I was younger and young men definitely needed more.
Interesting that the 7 meals for £10 already states that the price is now £11. If you needed to increase the volume the price could easily be £16 and that is just for evening meals.

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StrawberryJellyBelly · 12/02/2024 03:26

you think they only need 20 pounds for food then you are probably going to think they need very little for everything else. It's all part of the miserly attitude of some posters. I don't get why some people seem to think living on very little is a good thing for students

It’s like some kind of perverse competition.

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Dannexe · 12/02/2024 07:21

some posters just have their heads in the sand here.

£500 isn’t 125 a week for a start. It’s £115 a week (there are not 4 weeks in a month) so there’s £10 a week wiped out.

DS is coming home at the weekend. It’s the first time he’s ever come home during term time. His return train fare is £90. We will actually pay that but in most cases that sort of thing would need to come out of the budget. He has had to pay a deposit of £400 for his second year accommodation already. He had to pay an accommodation retention payment of £250 when he moved into halls (he’ll get it back hopefully). He had to pay halls subs of £25. He’s in two societies which each cost £30 a year subs. He was ill and needed two prescriptions which was £20.

The reality is that on average students need about £10k a year if they are going to uni. There’s no point pretending otherwise. Those who don’t have that will have less than every child from a low income family. They will not be able to afford to do lots of the things that make going to uni worthwhile.

if parents earn too much for their student offspring to be eligible for more than the minimum amount of loan then the child will need to find roughly £6k a year.

There are only a few options:

  1. Child works for a year or two before going;
  2. child lives at home and goes to local university (if there even is one)
  3. child leaves home (and may then be eligible for full loan but has issue of where they live in the meantime);
  4. child doesn’t go and gets a job instead which for a significant number of people will be a far better option anyway, saving them up to £60k plus interest in debt.



This is no secret. However we have a generation of parents (myself included) who went to uni under a different system of grants and no tuition fees and so it cones as a shock and far too late for parents to save up the £20k ish top up their kids need over the course of a degree. Most kids will work through the summer but that’s only 10 weeks. It won’t be enough. If parents cannot support their child through uni then they need to realise that the child can’t go or will have to go later and should make the child aware of this at gcse stage.

University isn’t a viable option for everyone anymore. Labour royally fucked it up. We don’t need whole school years going off to uni and coming out and working in £30k careers for life (particularly when skilled labourers are earning at least double that and have no student debt).
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wombat15 · 12/02/2024 08:38

Dannexe · 12/02/2024 07:21

some posters just have their heads in the sand here.

£500 isn’t 125 a week for a start. It’s £115 a week (there are not 4 weeks in a month) so there’s £10 a week wiped out.

DS is coming home at the weekend. It’s the first time he’s ever come home during term time. His return train fare is £90. We will actually pay that but in most cases that sort of thing would need to come out of the budget. He has had to pay a deposit of £400 for his second year accommodation already. He had to pay an accommodation retention payment of £250 when he moved into halls (he’ll get it back hopefully). He had to pay halls subs of £25. He’s in two societies which each cost £30 a year subs. He was ill and needed two prescriptions which was £20.

The reality is that on average students need about £10k a year if they are going to uni. There’s no point pretending otherwise. Those who don’t have that will have less than every child from a low income family. They will not be able to afford to do lots of the things that make going to uni worthwhile.

if parents earn too much for their student offspring to be eligible for more than the minimum amount of loan then the child will need to find roughly £6k a year.

There are only a few options:

  1. Child works for a year or two before going;
  2. child lives at home and goes to local university (if there even is one)
  3. child leaves home (and may then be eligible for full loan but has issue of where they live in the meantime);
  4. child doesn’t go and gets a job instead which for a significant number of people will be a far better option anyway, saving them up to £60k plus interest in debt.



This is no secret. However we have a generation of parents (myself included) who went to uni under a different system of grants and no tuition fees and so it cones as a shock and far too late for parents to save up the £20k ish top up their kids need over the course of a degree. Most kids will work through the summer but that’s only 10 weeks. It won’t be enough. If parents cannot support their child through uni then they need to realise that the child can’t go or will have to go later and should make the child aware of this at gcse stage.

University isn’t a viable option for everyone anymore. Labour royally fucked it up. We don’t need whole school years going off to uni and coming out and working in £30k careers for life (particularly when skilled labourers are earning at least double that and have no student debt). Edited

I agree with a lot of what you say but you are wrong about parents not knowing due to a different system when they went to university. Parents were always expected to contribute depending on their income even when there were grants rather than loans. Some students didn't receive any grant at all.
I think the people who didn't know didn't go to university themselves. There needs to be more publicity about it.

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BIossomtoes · 12/02/2024 08:51

It’s true that parents have always contributed. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t go when I was 18 because I didn’t want to go cap in hand to my dad for every penny. I started my degree when I was 30 and got a full grant. I got £800 a term - which is now apparently the equivalent of £3000.

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Dannexe · 12/02/2024 09:09

wombat15 · 12/02/2024 08:38

I agree with a lot of what you say but you are wrong about parents not knowing due to a different system when they went to university. Parents were always expected to contribute depending on their income even when there were grants rather than loans. Some students didn't receive any grant at all.
I think the people who didn't know didn't go to university themselves. There needs to be more publicity about it.

Yes you're probably right. I had a full grant in the early 90s but my parents still had to top me up (and I literally do remember times of picking mould off bread (but mainly because I chose to save that money for socialising and/or it was late at night and I NEEDED toast - not because I literally couldn't afford a loaf of bread)

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cloudtree · 12/02/2024 09:13

I actually think they need to change the student loan system so that the "wiped out debt" system doesn't exist but anyone can access the full maintenance loan at a lower rate of interest. Kids might then make sensible financial decisions about whether spending all that money on higher education is a good idea or not rather than simply going because its three years of fun and delaying starting work..

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MercanDede · 13/02/2024 18:25

University isn’t “three years of fun and delaying starting work”!
University is hard work and most students also have a job on top to make ends meet.

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BIossomtoes · 13/02/2024 18:49

MercanDede · 13/02/2024 18:25

University isn’t “three years of fun and delaying starting work”!
University is hard work and most students also have a job on top to make ends meet.

It’s changed then. When I was a student it was pretty widely recognised that it was three years of having a bloody good time to sweeten you up for 40 years of boredom and misery. I couldn’t believe how idyllic it was when I became a student after spending 14 years in the working world.

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wombat15 · 13/02/2024 20:01

BIossomtoes · 13/02/2024 18:49

It’s changed then. When I was a student it was pretty widely recognised that it was three years of having a bloody good time to sweeten you up for 40 years of boredom and misery. I couldn’t believe how idyllic it was when I became a student after spending 14 years in the working world.

It depends on the course. I had lectures/labs from 9.30 to 5 each day and worked in the evenings and on Sunday. My first graduate job was much easier as evenings and weekends off.

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theriseandfallofFranklinSaint · 13/02/2024 20:10

BIossomtoes · 13/02/2024 18:49

It’s changed then. When I was a student it was pretty widely recognised that it was three years of having a bloody good time to sweeten you up for 40 years of boredom and misery. I couldn’t believe how idyllic it was when I became a student after spending 14 years in the working world.

I agree @BIossomtoes I'm more than happy for my son to have an amazing 3 years at Uni before he starts full time work, saving for a house, etc.

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Spacecowboys · 13/02/2024 22:00

BIossomtoes · 13/02/2024 18:49

It’s changed then. When I was a student it was pretty widely recognised that it was three years of having a bloody good time to sweeten you up for 40 years of boredom and misery. I couldn’t believe how idyllic it was when I became a student after spending 14 years in the working world.

Im going to guess you didn’t do a degree in nursing, medicine or teaching. 🤣

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BIossomtoes · 13/02/2024 22:39

You’d be guessing right. English Lit - I had to read a minimum of three books a week. I spent most days lying on my bed reading. It was blissful.

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Lovemusic82 · 14/02/2024 08:35

BIossomtoes · 13/02/2024 22:39

You’d be guessing right. English Lit - I had to read a minimum of three books a week. I spent most days lying on my bed reading. It was blissful.

Dd is an English lit student, it suits her really well…..she spends a lot of time in bed reading 🤣

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MercanDede · 15/02/2024 19:26

BIossomtoes · 13/02/2024 18:49

It’s changed then. When I was a student it was pretty widely recognised that it was three years of having a bloody good time to sweeten you up for 40 years of boredom and misery. I couldn’t believe how idyllic it was when I became a student after spending 14 years in the working world.

I don’t think it has changed, I think it depends on your course and your level of privilege. The only students that partied their way through Uni and didn’t have to work were those who had a management job lined up courtesy of mama or papa’s business associates at a big firm starting them at 6 figures in the city no matter their not very practical degree in media studies/fashion design and poor grades.

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BIossomtoes · 15/02/2024 21:39

MercanDede · 15/02/2024 19:26

I don’t think it has changed, I think it depends on your course and your level of privilege. The only students that partied their way through Uni and didn’t have to work were those who had a management job lined up courtesy of mama or papa’s business associates at a big firm starting them at 6 figures in the city no matter their not very practical degree in media studies/fashion design and poor grades.

Not in the 80s. Everyone partied.

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MercanDede · 15/02/2024 21:46

BIossomtoes · 15/02/2024 21:39

Not in the 80s. Everyone partied.

Lots didn’t because of AIDS.

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BIossomtoes · 15/02/2024 21:55

MercanDede · 15/02/2024 21:46

Lots didn’t because of AIDS.

Never stopped anyone I knew.

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